NEW – Panoramic Views in Kottinger Ranch Offered at $2.3M – Open Friday 10-1, Sat/Sun 1-4

Panoramic Views at Kottinger Ranch Estate


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Perfectly suited for entertaining this extraordinary home is set on a .88 acre lot in the desirable Kottinger Ranch neighborhood with panoramic views from the Pleasanton Ridge to Mt. Diablo to the Altamont Pass.

Light-filled spaces include formal living and dining rooms, a bright, spacious kitchen and breakfast nook, a warm family room with stone fireplace, an office, an exercise room, a huge bonus game room, a stunning master suite with million dollar views and four five additional bedrooms.

Modern lighting and gleaming wood floors highlight the first story, along with a grand entry with inlaid wood designed floor and a sweeping staircase to the second floor. Upstairs is plenty of space for family and guests, with large picture windows throughout. Spacious without feeling ostentatious, this is the perfect place to call home.

4857 Sq. Feet on .88 acre
Custom built in 1994
5 bedrooms,4 bathrooms, office, bonus room, retreat/exercise room
Resort styled yard with outdoor kitchen, including wood burning pizza oven, gas BBQ and granite bar. Swimming pool, spa, waterfall and sport court. Peaceful garden sits outside the main level bedroom and a large (approx. 1/2 acre) vacant lot sits below the pool area and invites so many possibilities…possible vineyard site or guest house perhaps?


Contact Susan Schall at 925-519-8226 or Donna Garrison at 925-980-0273 for more information.


7795 Cedar Mountain Road, Livermore – 16.2 Acre Vineyard Estate Offered at $3,950,000

Authentic Vineyard Estate


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Live the dream of owning a truly authentic 6,671 SF Custom Vineyard Estate Home on 16.2 Acres in the Livermore Valley Wine Country!

7 Bedrooms ~ 6 Baths ~ In Law Apartment ~ 6,671 square feet

Pastoral setting with lush landscaping including a vineyard, olive trees, fruit trees and rose garden and 14.9 Acres of Chardonnay (Estate Grown for Darcie Kent Vineyards) Petite Sirah, and Zinfandel Grapes.

Set amongst acres of mature vineyards and rolling hills, this spectacular Tuscan Estate is only a short drive from the hustle and bustle of both the Silicon Valley and San Francisco. From the moment you arrive at this elegant custom home in the exclusive Crane Ridge Vineyards of the Southern Livermore Valley, you are whisked away to an Italian country side, lush with vineyards, fruit trees, manicured gardens and fresh air.

The grand front entrance opens into an exquisite Tuscan farmhouse-style home that is as beautiful as it is warm and inviting. Every window in this one-of-a-kind estate offers a captivating vista of the lush vineyards, valley and surrounding hills, including a beautiful view North to majestic Mount Diablo.

A turreted entry foyer with travertine and intricate custom-designed stone medallion inlaid floor leads to an oversized great room, blending a step-down living room, an elegant dining room with French doors leading to the back patio, and the kitchen and nook. Italian cypress tree columns and ceiling beams made of reclaimed wood from a Sonoma barn support this beautiful space.

The kitchen is a chef’s dream, featuring hand-crafted cabinets, marble countertops from the Amalfi Coast, and a solid marble farmhouse sink. Appliances include a Viking Professional Series® 6-burner cooktop with “invisible” ventilation, SubZero refrigerator, and two Bosch® dishwashers. An oven, convection oven, microwave and trash compactor round out this well-appointed space. The eat-in nook includes built-in seating and windows with stunning views overlooking the vineyard. The flooring throughout the kitchen has NuHeat® Radiant Heat built in for those cold winter mornings and evenings.

There are two bedrooms on the lower level. Each has pine doors, teak closet doors, and a private bath with stone tile counter and French cabinets. Also on this level are an executive office with lovely views of the surrounding hills, a spacious wine cellar, and a redwood stairway leading to the in-law apartment on the second floor.

Upstairs, you will find the relaxing master suite which features a wood-beam accented ceiling with ceiling fan, gas fireplace with insert and stone surround, a large walk-in closet, a private retreat sitting area, and access to 2 large balconies with breathtaking views. The ensuite Master Bath is truly luxurious with Noce travertine flooring imported from Italy, a double vanity and sinks with antique cabinetry, a jetted oversized tub, and a large separate shower with double shower heads. All of the master bath’s large windows have exquisite views.

The upstairs level also includes three additional bedrooms and a cozy in-law apartment studio, which boasts its own bathroom, a small balcony, and a kitchen with refrigerator and range. There is private access to the apartment, as well as shared access from the downstairs kitchen.

The backyard is truly a resort-styled outdoor oasis! The pool area includes a pebble-tech bottom, saline water pool with beach entry, a waterfall and a spa. There is also an outdoor kitchen area with a gas-powered industrial grill with 3 grilling areas, cooktop and rotisserie as well as an outdoor gas fireplace. There are several patio areas with walkways to the gardens and panoramic views of the vineyard and rolling hills.

This magnificent estate is one of only seven homes in a private, gated community originally developed and planted by Wente Brothers, the largest winemaker in the historic Livermore Valley. The home boasts 14.2 acres of mature vineyards planted with Chardonnay, Petite Sirah, and Zinfandel varieties, which are estate bottled, vineyard designated, and sold exclusively to and by Darcie Kent Vineyards.

Vineyard Specifics

All farming, maintenance, repair and harvesting has been handled and paid for by Darcie Kent Vineyards (DKV), which has an “evergreen” lease on the vineyard at a base rate of $15,000 per year.  Homeowner pays only for the irrigation water and property tax.  Additionally, the lease rate is augmented each year based on the quantity of grapes used by DKV in its ultra-premium, vineyard-designated wines at the rate of $500 per ton.  In 2014, the annual lease payment was $24,000 and is expected to be the same in 2015.

Darcie Kent Vineyards, one of Livermore Valley’s premier wineries, has committed to revitalizing the vineyard by a phased re-planting over the next several years, starting in late 2015.  This substantial investment in the vineyard, which will double the number of vines, improve and diversify plant material with the introduction of Pinot Noir and Grüner Veltliner, and significantly elevate quality potential, will have a positive long term impact on the income and value of the property. Estimated annual net income, which has averaged $24,000 over the past two years is forecast to double behind this investment.

The operating lease allows DKV to make “estate grown & bottled” claims regarding all the grapes from the vineyards.  DKV typically vineyard-designates by distinct farming blocks and we currently employ a DeMayo block and a Hoffman block designations.  The new owner could allow us to attach their last name to one of the blocks that are being re-developed if they want to have wines bearing their name in the market.  DKV can also do small amounts of custom bottling, as we did for the Hoffman Olive Oil, if the new owners so wish.


Contact Donna Garrison at 925-980-0273 or Susan Schall at 925-519-8226 for more information.


1279 Lozano Court, Timeless Ruby Hill Georgian Estate Offered at $2,425,000

Timeless Georgian Ruby Hill Estate


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5,596 SF (source: house plans)
4 bedrooms/3.5 bathrooms
32,273 SF Lot (.74 acre) located on cul-de-sac
Swimming pool, spa, covered patio with outdoor kitchen
4 Car Garage with additional workshop
Built by John Erbert in 2001

Sophisticated traditional styling provides an elegant setting at this magnificent Georgian styled home. Extensive custom millwork throughout provides exceptional beauty and the open and light floor plan provides ample room for living and entertaining.

The grand foyer features Brazilian cherry floors and a sweeping front staircase, as well as gorgeous crown molding and wainscoting. The open living room includes a custom mantle and marble surround fireplace, and it opens to an alcove, perfect for a game table or grand piano. The adjoining dining room includes additional custom wainscoting. The large formal office is situated off of the foyer and features extensive built-in cabinetry and additional storage.

The gourmet kitchen has it all, including cherry cabinetry, granite slab counters and every possible appliance including two oversized Thermador ovens, Thermador Commercial range with 2 ovens, KitchenAid convection/microwave, and a warming drawer. The SubZero Built-in refrigerator, Whirlpool trash compactor and GE dishwasher round it out. The large center island provides great preparation space with a Wolf electric auxiliary cooktop and a prep sink, in addition to loads of storage. Store your food in the oversized pantry and your china in the separate china room, which features glass front cabinets great counter space, a window and even more storage.

The Brazilian cherry floors of the foyer flow into and throughout the kitchen areas. The kitchen opens to the over-sized breakfast nook which opens to the backyard with French sliders. The family room includes a wet bar with a sink and refrigerator. The family room overlooks a resort-like backyard and features built-in speakers, more built-in cherry cabinets and a custom cherry mantled gas-starter fireplace.

Is it possible to really LOVE your laundry room? If so this is the ONE! With expansive space, extensive storage, real Broom Closets and even more closets, there is room for everything.

The extra deep 4-Car garage includes additional workshop space, built-in cabinets with sink, built-in workbench with built-in cabinets at workshop and throughout all car bays, lots of room to play and work. Additionally there is a separate attached 8 x 10 “garden room” for storage of tools and supplies. Outer and inner secure doors allow for access to garden room contents from the outside while restricting access to garage and house.

The main floor guest suite features a large walk-in closet and a full bath.

The back stairway takes you upstairs from the kitchen to the hotel-like master suite, which is spacious, including a separate exercise area, a large sitting area with fireplace and a balcony overlooking the backyard and pool with views across the valley. The master bath features marble counters and NuHeat radiant heated floors, an oversized shower with four shower heads, a jetted tub and incredible walk-in closets you have to see to believe.

Two more secondary bedrooms have large walk in closets and share a large Jack and Jill bathroom.

The large and private backyard features a covered patio with an outdoor kitchen, a swimming pool and spa, covered porches and lots of space for entertaining and play. The pie-shaped lot includes a fenced dog run and ample room to spread out.

Additional Features:

Attic access
Extensive closet and storage space
Owned solar system provides electricity to home
Separate solar system to heat pool
Concrete tile roof
4 zone HVAC
Built-In vacuum and intercom systems

Contact Donna Garrison at 925-980-0273 or Susan Schall at 925-519-8226 for more information.


Pleasanton Real Estate Agents Help New Buyers Take the Plunge

11-5-1sttimebuyerSports divers know something that’s relevant to a first time home buyer’s decision about whether to enlist the services of a Pleasanton real estate agent.

A ‘free diver’ (one without SCUBA gear) who descends into dark, unknown waters usually finds it’s possible to dive much deeper the second time down. The reason: on the first dive, not being sure what lies down there is a little spooky—the diver’s anxiety causes their heart to race faster, which uses up their lungful of air quickly. The next time down, it’s into newly familiar territory; they don’t run out of breath nearly as quickly.

So what does this have to do with buying a house or deciding whether to call a Pleasanton real estate agent? The first time you go shopping for any new item—especially anything with complicated features—requires focus and often patience. If the choices are many, making an intelligent purchase can produce a certain amount of frustration and stress (if this sounds far-fetched, just remember the last time you set about comparing the features and plan options for a new model cell phone).

But those demands are trivial compared with the stress level most newcomers experience when they buy their first home. It’s not just that the homes up for sale offer such a variety of characteristics that resist straight-up comparison (although in Pleasanton this fall, that’s certainly true)—it’s also that the whole process of looking, financing, negotiating and closing differs so much from other kinds of purchases. It’s the first time down into murky waters—who wouldn’t feel the stress? And then there’s that one other factor: it’s probably the most expensive purchase they’ve ever even thought about making!

As a Pleasanton real estate agent who has helped many a buyer through their first home purchasing experience, I can report that an important part of what I do is to remove a huge chunk of the anxiety that would otherwise grow from the unknowns. Right from our first conversation, by asking the relevant questions that experience has shown will point the way to the most likely candidate properties, the fog of the unknowns begin to lift. Likewise, every part of buying that first home—from locating reliable inspection resources through securing the most advantageous financing alternative—becomes more like a walk in the park than a trek through the wilderness.

A Pleasanton real estate agent doesn’t completely eradicate the newness of the experience for a first time buyer, but choosing to tap the resources of an experienced guide who knows the area well is not a hard call. And since real estate agent fees are traditionally paid from the seller’s proceeds, it’s also an economical one!

If you’re a homeowner about to dive into your first home sale—or a first-timer on the lookout for a home of your own—I hope you won’t hesitate to give me a call. I’d like to become your Number One Pleasanton real estate agent resource. And next time out? It won’t be nearly as daunting…but you’ll know who to call then, too!

Call Donna Garrison at 925.980.0273 or Susan Schall at 925.519.8226.

Investment Properties’ Unique Advantages Revisited

11-5-investmentIt’s the perpetual ebb and flow. Sometimes the popularity of investment properties in Dublin begins to rise, sending them toward the head of the pack against rival investment ideas. A Dublin investment property’s basic allure has always been its unique attribute as the most “real” of real goods (investment property is pretty close to the very definition of the word ‘substantial’). But as a haven for capital, its place in the pecking order of investment ideas depends a lot on the performance of the competition—especially stocks and bonds.

When the predicted long term returns from the stock market begin to look lackluster, or if market factors begin to seem more volatile than usual, investment property gains in comparison. When the uncertainty gauge starts twitching upward—and that seems to be happening lately—some of the underlying benefits Dublin investment properties offer get renewed attention. Items that register in the calculus—

Item: Inflation hedge

Because rental rates can rise with (and lately, ahead) of inflation rates in general, that constant worry is less of a factor. Investors factor in the real inflation rate (not always the official one) when they look at their portfolio’s performance.

Item: Cash flow

Properly managed, a Dublin investment property can produce ‘dividends’ that are substantial without diminishing the value of the principal investment. (There’s no board of directors to make sweetheart deals with management, either!).

Item: Predictability

Investors know that no one can guarantee what the future will bring—but it’s harder to picture a time when people won’t need shelter than one where they won’t be bidding up stocks or bonds. The rental performance of any one Dublin investment property may be more reliable than another (a mid-range apartment complex vs. a top-notch luxury residence, for instance); but in overall predictability, investment property rates highly.

And then there’s one that’s sort of counter-intuitive:

Item: Flexibility

Everyone is familiar with the most obvious inherent drawback to investment properties: namely, their relative lack of liquidity. You can sell stocks or bonds rapidly because their markets are comparatively transparent and active. Capital is ‘stuck’ in real estate until buyers appear. But what that analysis doesn’t take into account is that the equity manifested in Dublin investment properties can actually serve as a lower-risk springboard for financing other opportunities. Real estate can be relatively easy to borrow against since its value is less volatile than, for instance, that which buying stock on margin entails—especially when ‘iffy’ market conditions suddenly develop. Furthermore, the deductibility of mortgage interest makes this form of financing less expensive.

If this fall finds you reevaluating your own portfolio, I can show you some of Dublin’s investment properties that offer exciting possibilities. Call me!

Call Donna Garrison at 925.980.0273 or Susan Schall at 925.519.8226.